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Bling, Bling

This story first appeared in the July 9, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Elie Saab’s world is awash in heavy-duty glamour and revved-up eveningwear of the high-glitz variety. But then, he is targeting Hollywood types such as Halle Barry, Vivica A. Fox and Debra Messing, who have all worn his clothes. Crystal-encrusted, slit-to-there and cut with enough flou to flood a red carpet, his fall couture collection is a celebration of fashion that looks best by the dance floor’s strobe light or that of the paparazzi’s flash.

Saab’s imaginative range included chiffon gowns swirling with beaded streaks and disco-draped dancing dresses in every variation and hue. In other words, these are dresses designed to dazzle. To wit, they were always flashy, and sometimes trashy. Clearly, Saab has set out to build his couture business by catering to the entrance-making battalion — and cleverly so. In couture’s uncertain times, focusing on that high-profile section of the pie may prove wise.

Ballet High

“There’s a Ballet Russe flavor to it,” explained Loulou de la Falaise as she presented her latest designs at her Left Bank shop on Thursday. “My grandmother was a great supporter of the Russian ballet.” The theme was interpreted in deep amethyst blouses, high-waisted, pleated skirts and colorful, Art Deco print silk tops. “It’s also a homage to all of the women in my family,” offered the one-time Yves Saint Laurent muse and accessories designer, who later hosted a cocktail party for her friends, family and clients. During the past four seasons, since she struck out on her own, de la Falaise has established a strong look, based on whimsical colors and tweaked traditional silhouettes. She elaborated on it this outing with velour English hunting jackets, rabbit-edged jackets and gauzy smoking blouses. Other standouts included a black fur trench and sculptural evening gown. And, of course, there was the jewelry, including a divine necklace stacked with pearls.